To consider bailing out of this holiday for medical reasons?

(51 Posts)
stargirl04 Sat 20-Feb-16 15:38:32

Hi MN-ers,

Hope you wise ladies can help me decide what to do.

I suffered a punctured lung after a lung biopsy where a needle is inserted into my lung.

It was my third such episode after two previous biopsies (for unknown abnormal tissue), but this time it was worse - I was kept in hospital and had a chest tube to reinflate the lung.

Before all this, I had booked a four-day break to Iceland in March with friends from Denmark - we are meeting up in Reykjavik.

One doctor has told me I can fly six weeks after lung collapse resolution, and two others at the hospital said that I can fly two weeks after resolution, but that I am fit to fly. (Reduced cabin pressure means that a repeat lung collapse mid-air would be problematic.)

Yet I am still suffering breathlessness and chest pain similar to when I had the collapse - though the symptoms have improved and are nowhere near as bad as two weeks ago.

The biopsy showed no cancer but then they wanted to investigate possible TB.

I got the results on Wednesday , no evidence of TB was found and a chest x-ray confirmed that I was not suffering any late onset of lung collapse.

I asked this doctor (a different one to the ones who advised me before) about flying, saying I didn't understand why I still had symptoms when my x-ray is showing no recurrence of lung collapse. (During the previous two episodes I felt no symptoms upon resolution but these were smaller air leaks that didn't need a chest tube).

He did a lot of chin scratching and um-ing and ah-ing then said: "I don't want be the one to tell you not to go on holiday, but lungs take time to recover from this type of thing.

"There is a 99 per cent chance you will be fine and suffer no adverse symptoms on the flight. The worst case scenario is that one lung goes down mid flight. You will be in pain and breathless but you won't die because you can breathe through the other lung. You will be in hospital in Iceland. That's the worst case scenario."

If I felt great (as I did before the biopsy) I would still go to Iceland which will be 7 and a half weeks after my lung was resolved, so easily past the 6 week waiting period for flying. But because I have these symptoms, if I was travelling alone, I would just cancel it. What's stopping me is that I will have to let my friends down.

I know that sounds ridiculous. Maybe that's because it IS ridiculous. I really hate letting people down. And maybe my symptoms are down to anxiety.

Statistically, I "should" be okay. But my friend (who has cancer) tells me if it was her that had heard this from a doctor, she wouldn't want to take the risk and that I can go to Iceland anytime - that I should wait until I'm feeling better, get my lung sorted out and that I shouldn't give a second though to letting my friends down.

What would you do?

CooPie10 Sat 20-Feb-16 15:40:13

Yanbu, your health comes first. You don't know exactly how you will feel at that point. Even so it's causing you anxiety, so do what's best for yourself thanks

lorelei9 Sat 20-Feb-16 15:50:37

I wouldn't dream of taking the risk I'm afraid.

stargirl04 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:07:48

Thanks for your thoughts CooPie and Lorelei

ImperialBlether Sat 20-Feb-16 16:12:56

I wouldn't take the risk, either. It would frighten me to think of being mid-flight and being unable to use a lung.

Doobigetta Sat 20-Feb-16 16:17:33

Are you going at the beginning or end of March? If you've still got four weeks, you could be feeling much better by then and want to go. Can't you just wait and see for a bit?

stargirl04 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:20:00

Hi Imperial, that's my fear. Even putting up with my present symptoms, if someone could look into a crystal ball and tell me that I would be fine on the flight and wouldn't need to go into hospital, I would go.

I had a minor lung collapse in July last year (again after lung biopsy - long story!) which resolved itself within hours. I flew to Venice in December and didn't give my lungs a second thought because I had no symptoms and it was five months later, ample time for everything to settle down again.

This time, if I felt 100 per cent I would go, even though the deadline/waiting period is tight.

lorelei9 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:21:31

star, what's the position re insurance?

I'm just back from a foreign holiday, first in five years. I enjoyed it but I wouldn't find it remotely important if there was any health risk. I appreciate that if travel is important to you, you will feel differently.

stargirl04 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:22:13

Hi Doobigetta, well that's another possibility. I don't have to rush into a decision. I go on March 16.

If I don't go I will lose the flight money (cheap flight so not much), but the more expensive hotel is fully refundable if I cancel up to five days before.

And I don't need to buy travel insurance till just before I go - not that there's any point as no one will cover me for the problem I'm concerned about.

Branleuse Sat 20-Feb-16 16:22:28

cancel it x

stargirl04 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:24:57

Lorelei, the trip is to see the northern lights with two friends from Denmark, so I was really looking forward to it. One is a friend I've known 20 years, the other I only met last year and she is more my friend's friend, IFSWIM.

I doubt any insurer would cover me for any lung issue. I may be wrong.

stargirl04 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:26:41

Thanks also Branleuse x

NeedACleverNN Sat 20-Feb-16 16:27:17

If you don't need to cancel until a week before I would wait it out. Give it a couple of weeks and see how you feel. No improvement, cancel.

BikeGeek Sat 20-Feb-16 16:28:15

There's no way I would go without adequate insurance

Mistigri Sat 20-Feb-16 16:32:07

I wouldn't even think about going without travel insurance to cover the risk ie both medical insurance and repatriation costs.

Iceland is not in the EU, how would you pay for a hospital stay? How would you get back again, if you had a collapsed lung en route? it's not like coming back from continental Europe where you could get a train/ ferry - you would have to return by air ambulance, or wait (weeks? months?) until you were medically fit to take a commercial flight.

You'll need to talk to your insurer and if they will cover you they will probably want evidence that you are fit to fly. You'll probably have to pay a hefty premium too.

Hulababy Sat 20-Feb-16 16:32:48

Sounds like you don't need to cancel til a week before.
However, I think it is fair to talk to your friends now and warn them it might be a possibility. You can tell them what the doctor said - he basically doesn't advise it, as things stand.

Morgani97 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:43:16

Don't put yourself at risk it's not worth it,hope you get well soon x

serin Sat 20-Feb-16 16:48:49

Aside from the medical risks, I wouldn't even take the financial risk.

lorelei9 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:52:35

stargirl, my parents managed to get cover with a huge list of medical issues.

even if you have to exclude your particular condition, you still can't go without cover because even if you break a bone or whatever - which I've done - your costs won't be covered. It's not worth going without insurance surely?

3WiseWomen Sat 20-Feb-16 16:53:13

Yep I would check the insurance first.

Then I would have a chat with my friends and let them know of the situation and take a last minute decision. Assuming that you will loose the cost of the travel anyway, regardless of when you cancel.

pallasathena Sat 20-Feb-16 17:00:36

Don't go. If it was me, I'd be anxious all the while whilst flying. Its no start to a holiday. Book it again when you're fully recovered and look after yourself. Your friends will understand.

Naoko Sat 20-Feb-16 17:03:42

I understand why you might be anxious about this, and if you didn't feel comfortable, it'd be reasonable to cancel. That said, the doctors would not let you fly if it could be dangerous - firstly they want the best for you, and secondly nobody wants the resulting lawsuit. On balance, I think I'd ensure adequate travel insurance is in place (there are specialists to cover existing medical conditions) and then go. For what it's worth, a friend of mine was hospitalised in Iceland last year while on holiday, and he had nothing but good things to say about his care, so if you should need help while there, you'd be ok.

lorelei9 Sat 20-Feb-16 17:43:42

sorry for delayed reaction but I just realised this is the most important part of your post

" But because I have these symptoms, if I was travelling alone, I would just cancel it. "

So cancel it. Your friends will understand. You don't have all doctors giving you 100% certification of fit to fly, therefore you can't.

londonrach Sat 20-Feb-16 18:03:18

Id cancel it op. Breathing problems especially linked to the lung and being in the air without quick access to help. No! I doubt an airline would let you fly anyway at the moment. Please rethink this and maybe holiday somewhere in uk this once to allow access quickly to a hospital. Hope you ok x

bumbleymummy Sat 20-Feb-16 18:06:11

Agree with others - I wouldn't go if I was in your shoes. Sorry sad realm disappointing but maybe you could plan another short break (even by yourself) that doesn't involve flying so you're getting away somewhere?

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